Leonard ‘Len’ Herzenberg, a world renowned scientist, innovator, and mentor, passed away on October 27 at the age of 81 after a brief illness. In cooperation with his wife and scientific partner, Lee Herzenberg, he brought the power of flow cytometry to the field of immunology, developed fluorescence activated cell sorting, and mentored some of the most influential figures in flow cytometry today – including Garry Nolan, out of whose lab Cytobank was formed.
Several of us at Cytobank have spent time at the Stanford Shared FACS Facility working on projects and can intimately appreciate Len Herzenberg’s contributions to the field in both instrumentation and the pervasive attitude of openness. The cytometry community has always been open and inclusive – labs and core facilities strive to educate new users and spread cytometry expertise as far as possible. These ideals were instilled in the community by the founders and pioneers of flow cytometry, and Len played a large role in the process. This was evident in the way he handled the distribution of early hybridomas (a term he coined during a sabbatical in César Milstein’s laboratory) – open and available to anyone who asked.
As we reflect on Len’s contributions to the field, we’d like to highlight a memorial written by Mario Roederer and a video interview performed by him of both Lee and Len Herzenberg. If you’d like to read more about Lee and Len’s life and scientific journey from Brooklyn College, to Cal Tech, the Pasteur Institute, the NIH, and then finally to Stanford, please visit their lab’s website where the article “A Tale of Two Lives Intertwined” is hosted.
Our condolences go out to Lee and the rest of the Herzenberg family – the world has lost a great man and he’ll be missed, both in the corridors of Stanford and in the scientific community at large.
[Edit-Dec2013] We’d like to likewise share a thoughtful memorial of Len Herzenberg offered by Garry Nolan.